Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
BA SCORE
92%
Liked This Beer
4.28 w/ 176 ratings
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
harviestoun.com

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Nickls on 01-29-2009

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,215
Reviews:
113
Ratings:
176
Liked:
162
Avg:
4.28/5
pDev:
9.81%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
89
Gots:
28
Trade:
1
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 176 |  Reviews: 113
Photo of billzav
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yet another outstanding offering from the brewery’s Special Reserve series. Jet black in color, 40 has big Scotch whiskey notes in the nose and initial taste, complimented by hints of dark chocolate and sweet malt with a vanilla oakiness at the finish. An extremely well balanced beer, 40 is as rich and smooth as it is complex, and I believe that it’s the best offering in the series.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a white creamy head. Tastes roasty with some whiskey notes coming through the finish. Can definately pick up the whiskey notes more in the 40 year, compared to the 12 and 16. Insanely drinkable. I'd have no problem drinking a lot more of these if it wasn't for the price tag. Delicious beer though.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I fell in love with this beer the first time I had it a few years ago now I've had the chance of having it again and it still kicks ass. The pour is a great black color with a tan head that leaves a nice ring around the top of the glass. The smell is so awesome, it's got a magical sweet smell. The whiskey wooden smell adds to it. It's hard to really explain but it's great. The beer tastes sweet and with a whiskey back bone. There is some vanilla in there not much chocolate but a little bit and a good amount of smokiness there too. The flavors are strong and very pleasing. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth with some light carbonation. The overall take on this brew is just really good in my opinion. I could drink a lot of this but it's very pricey.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Looks nice and dark in the snifter. Some foam but nothing major.

Lots of whiskey and chocolate in the aroma, more whiskey than chocolate. And not just any whiskey, good whiskey, nice hints of smoky peat.

That's tasty. Not as thick as I seem to remember this the first time I had it....minor weakness. Feels like a lightish Bock on the palate rather than a big whiskey barrel aged beer. You really taste the whiskey, along with some coffee and chocolate.

For what it is, extremely drinkable, but you'd better like Scotch. If not this could be tough sledding.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.79/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with my Girlfriend during an Ola Dubh tasting. From ntoes.

A - Black pour with a 3 finger mocha head that seems quite creamy. Mild visible carbonation, nice lacing and great retention.

S - Mild aroma, alcohol, vanilla, and roasted malt.

T - Oakiest of the series it seems. Tobacco, ash, sweet notes in the form of vanilla bean I think.

M - Medium carbonation, full body, dry finish.

O/D - Not bad. A little too oaky for me but it was still a good beer. One of the best of the series of course but the price tag is rough on the wallet. Worth a shot though, you won't be disapointed.

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Photo of mmercede
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

350ml bottle shared with a friend. Aged about 2 years in the bottle.

A: Pours an opaque black color with amber tones near the edges. Develops a small caramel colored head with some minimal lacing.

S: Smells of typical scotch aromas: honey, peat, oak, leather, and cigar smoke. There is also some mild aromas from the malt. Some dark chocolate and toasted malt.

T: Tastes like some sort of amazing scotch cocktail. Strong honey and smoke notes. A mild hotness with a strong oaky finish. Earthy tones throughout. A nice dark chocolate finish with very little sweetness.

M: Full bodied but not overly thick. Not quite as oily as I expected. The carbonation lasted well and is a perfect amount. Perfect.

O: One of the best barrel aged beers created with one of the best scotch barrels there are. I would definitly be interested to compare the other Ola Dubh Releases. Not a cheap bottle of beer though.

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Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

#51155 bottled January '09, drank April '11

A Pitch black oil. Thick as it runs down the glass. It's entirely opaque save the edges when the glass is tilted which lets through dark brown light. There's not very much head, as you might expect from something so thick. When the head formed it was a dark, mocha color, and it was thick. After it dissipates, a lighter ring floats around the edge with some dark, swirling fog on the top.

S It smells like the essence dark beers. It's just full of roasted malts with dark chocolate. It has some smooth nuttiness to it, too. There's definitely some evident whisky leanings, almost brandy with how vinous it smells at times. There's something in there, almost a meat smell, that I can't quite figure out.

T Up front it's sweet and roasted. As it crawls down the palate, it gets more nutty. The whisky comes through strongly in the middle, where it spreads around like wild fire and stays through after the finish. In the finish, it's sweet, vinous and chocolatey. It has such a full flavor and each component gains dominance over the others with every turn.

M It's quite thick. It crawls through the mouth and swirls around like an turbulent ocean of oil. There's a very pleasant whisky burn that hits in a single spot and immediately covers the rest of the mouth. It stays along after the finish to leave a nice tingling for a minute.

O I really enjoyed this. It's a great, thick beer to enjoy slowly with a friend. It's wonderfully complex and full flavored without being overbearing.

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Photo of Glory
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Also bought at the LCBO in Ottawa a little before Christmas. Its pretty expensive : 25 dollars for the 330 ml... I still bought 2. When it comes to beer I dont really care.
Bottled in August 2010 so one year older than my special reserve 18. I see it makes a big difference.
Poured in my Riedel magnum wine glass next to the 18.
First of all the color of the 40 is more black than brown and I have alot more foam. you can tell there's alot more carbonation in this one, more head, more lacing. Its still pretty opaque though. Proud looking stout !

Smells alot more like roasted barley and chocolate but you get to make the Whiskey connections very easily when you get hints of smoke, vanilla and oak. Notes of fruits as well, ripped grapes and cherries. A sweeter smell than the 18.

At first its a rush of carbonation in your mouth and then flavors of Roasted barley and toffe kicks in. You also taste Vanilla and chocolate. And its a long lasting taste that sticks to the palate.
There is a nice balance between the bitterness and the sweetness which makes this beer very nice and ''easy'' I could drink another one or two.

I noticed that the one year difference between the bottling of my 18 and 40 makes it all worth waiting.
The 40 in this review is a very nice stout once drunk young but aging it a bit give out much more complexe whiskey flavors and a beer of this kind diserves to be appreciated at its best.
Happy I got another waiting in the cellar.

Cheers Lads

WS

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle that comes in a small tightly sealed box with info on it. The bottle it self has a nice black foil on it with a small metal Harviestoun Brewery medallion around the neck.

Poured into a Tulip Glass

Bottled January 2009/ Drank January 2011

Bottle #5991

A- Pours a solid jet black with only a small light brown ring around that glass. Like pouring flat coke. Great alcohol feet on the side of the glass when you swirl it, as well as some fine tightly spaced bubbles. Not much carbonation at all.

S- Really strong oak and wood up front with a nice musty note to it that is definitely from the age of the wood. Slight sweet notes in there for sure like vanilla, dark fruits, tobacco, and of course the whiskey. Also a decent old smoke smell to it rather than roasted.

T- Super creamy roasted malts up front that give off a nice strong musty oak and vanilla flavor. Behind that as it starts to go down the beer comes out a bit more with dark fruits, tobacco and some bitter dark chocolate but finish's strong with the whiskey. And surprisingly even as it warms the alcohol and/or heat is non existent. Which is kind of a bummer for me because i feel that would tie it all together and give it a real kick but hey 40 years. I'm sure it's mellowed right out hah.

M- Thick and full bodied with very little carbonation and a nice more wet finish than bitter.

Overall this beer is definitely impressive and well worth the $20.00 I payed for it. But that musty oak flavor has pretty much taken over. Being 2 years old now i think this beer is definitely at it's peak. Not to much whiskey or peat in this one and the complexity is kind of lost compared to what seems that it was fresh.

SkÅL!

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
BOTTLE NUMBER & DATE: 50825 / JAN2009

This is a deep, dark, chocolate brown color with some ruby highlighting. The head resembles the color of a mochaccino. It forms to almost a finger thick, then recedes to a surface covering film. It provides some nice, though spotty, lacing.

Tons of oak are the first thing that I get. There is a light touch of dirt/dust scent. Good dose of peat. Roasted chocolate maltiness. Light traces of dark fruit sweetness. Mild hint of vanilla.

This follows the nose quite well. It's surprising to me, because I expected more of a peat presence in this one. It's totally dominated by the oak though. So much so that it's hard to find anything else, other than an occasional hint.
Kind of disappointing. Perhaps it's just past it's peak.

It's full-bodied and has a mild level of carbonation. Smooth and almost silky. No creaminess at all.

This is my least liked of the series, yet. I'd be willing to try this again, but will not actively seek it out.

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Photo of dauss
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Comes in a box, much like a single malt would be packaged. 12oz. bottle with a black foil top over a Harviestoun Brewery imprinted metal disc hanging by a string. I haven't seen this beer before at a liquor store I frequent. Bottled No. & Date: 50409 JAN2009

Appearance: A tan head struggles to form even with a hard pour. This beer is black, jet black. Even when held up to the light, it is difficult to gauge a color for this beer. Definitely very brown, with a touch of ruby.

Aroma: Upfront hints of oak, caramel, toasted malt, then opens up with a nice alcohol warmth of chocolate, a touch of cardboard and light malt sweetness.

Taste: Upfront malt sweetness. Any sort of hops that might have been in this beer are long gone. Extremely smooth chocolate toffee body with a touch of figs, honey, and peat. Finishes with a oak wood note and hints of whisky.

Mouthfeel: Medium full body with a sweet residual mouthfeel that lingers of more chocolate and peat.

Notes: Carbonation is a little low, I would have liked a touch more effervescence. A sweet desert like beer that would be great as a digestif. No hop characters are left and the beer is full of whisky notes. It was difficult to spend the price they were asking for. This is probably the most expensive bottle of beer(in terms of $/oz.) that I bought at retail, but it is worth trying. It's not as amazing as I thought it would be, but still a very solid beer that I will remember for a long time. Now that the bottle is empty, there is no sediment, indicating that this beer was filtered. I doubt that this beer would improve any more with age.

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Photo of paxkey
3.59/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

unusual metal trinket hangs from neck of bottle tied on by a string. the beer comes packaged in a brown box and when i first picked it up at the store i thought the bottle was broken inside from the clinking noise of the metal against glass.

looks like coca cola in the glass. no head.

smells nice. raisin and dark fruit. very complex nose. sweet smells compete with alcohol and wood grain. also getting some vanilla aroma.

sharp carbonation with lots of alcohol taste but a very nice finish. leaves a great flavor in the mouth that makes you want to savour until the next taste.

a little too much alcohol taste. the finish makes up for this as you forget the alcohol taste and are left with only sweet remnants of the sip.

a fine aged sipping beer, the alcohol taste and the high price tag makes me question whether i would seek this out again.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

-Ale matured in 40 yr. Old Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whiskey casks.

A: Rich nestle chocolate on the pour is opaque in the glass with a bubbly 1 finger nutmeg colored head that is quick to dissipate. Standard issue representation.

S: Heavy on the scotch, perhaps a bit to much so, hides most of the rich dark roasted nature. With so much scotch hard to pick up on anything else.

T: The flavor continues the trend of the heavy hand of scotch presence. Really boozy upfront but the dark roasted nature is more evident here, very smooth in character and flavor after you get the initial scotch shock. Bitter bakers chocolate, fresh roast coffee line up for the finish.

M: The mouthful was very silky, incredibly fluid and viscose, with no sense of carbonation.

D: Very smooth flavor wise, nice sense of dark roasted malt but the scotch soaked cask notes were a bit much. I like some cask presence but the scotch notes were to a point where it overtook the general character of the beer which I could of achieved by grabbing some cheap scotch and watered it down. A slow moderate sipper at room temp, the lesser 16 came off much better and would recommend that instead.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Harviestoun Ola Dubh 40 on cask and into a big goblet at Max's Taphouse in Baltimore, Maryland.

Appearance: A tanned brownish head, quite fluffy and carbonated, lingers. No lacing or carbonation, though. Beautiful jet-black pour, good consistency. Thinner than the draft version of at least one other Harviestoun beer I've had (18 year) but better and more enjoyable overall.

Smell: Sweet malts, creamy dark chocolate. Crystallized sugars. Like a liquid dessert. Bourbon barrel and some alcohol.

Taste: Smoke upfront. Then bourbon (whiskey, I guess, but I have never had a "real" British/Scottish/Irish whiskey). Oak and some distant vanilla from faraway lands. I ought to rate this as exceptional. There is almost nothing like it.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium body, full flavor. No carbonation, more like a bourbon, but fine (not like some old ales that are flat and just plain odd). Beautiful overall, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: Good for an 8% beer with lots of whiskey and cask aromas. It hits after a while, but it drinks really good. Well balanced.

I will seek this again, despite the $8-$9 tag.

Cheers!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours black with no head or lacing. Nice pitch black color. The nose is really complex and intriguing with whiskey, oak, light vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and a bit of alcohol. The taste is a bit overly boozy but still quite nice with a lot of whisky and chocolate. The booze fits well in the feel as it's interspersed throughout and finishes nicely. Drinks well; nice sipper.

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Photo of ratedz
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black into a Boulevard chalice. A very thin head faded quickly and left behind very little lacing.

A quick sniff reveals the scotch whisky, oak, vanilla, and maybe a little chocolate. I was expecting the whisky smell to be really strong on this one, but it seems to be blended very well.

Initial tastes are a little smokiness and some bitter chocolates. As you swallow, the warmth of the whisky starts to take over. As with the smell, the taste isn't nearly as strong on the whisky as I was expecting.

Very smooth mouth feel. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated and the whisky flavor takes over as you let it sit in your mouth.

Since the alcohol wasn't as overpowering as it is in some other barrel aged beers, I thought this was fairly drinkable. It is slightly hot and therefore a sipping beer...I enjoyed the bottle over about a 45 minute time frame. The price obviously limits this from being a beer you'd want to consume multiple bottles of in one sitting, but it is a fantastic beer to sit down with on a cool fall evening!

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Photo of rechever
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My girlfriend surprised me with this one.

Poured on my Ayinger Celebrator Bock glass.

Jet black, not as viscous as I expected it to be. Moderate tan head. No light seems to get through it.

The whisky barrels do such a good job on this beer. The smell is of sweet malty whisky in my opinion. Not overpowering, its actually a great combination. Im thinking of wooden dark chocolate. The more I smell, the more I like it. Hmmm Makes me want to get a steak burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. Cooked over oak.

When I have it in my mouth I feel the whisky aroma flow from my mouth to my nose, just like when you hold Scotch in your mouth. But in your tongue you feel the sweetness of the malts which are reminiscent of dark chocolate cake that has been flavored with drops of vanilla. The wood makes it feel very dry.

Im in love with it. Im so glad I had this.

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Photo of jczn
4.89/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into wine glass.

A: Black with a very small, tan, lacy head. Hard to get a great idea of the appearance because of the low light. (4.0)

S: Aroma of whiskey and oak were fairly prominent, with some vanilla. The whiskey smell was fairly sweet and reminded me of Irish whisky rather than Scotch. (5.0)

F: Chocolate and Some bitterness from dark grains on the front end as well as alcoholic warmth. The immediate aftertaste is whisky, followed a moment later by earthy peat smoke. If the aroma is Irish whisky, the flavor is definitely Scotch. (5.0)

M: Thinner than most strong ales, barleywines or stouts, yet with more carbonation than the head would lead you to expect. Very well attenuated, the mouthfeel was not what I expected, yet it was still pleasing. (4.5)

D: A fantastic beer, it has a level of complexity usually only found in a few Belgians, or a rich red wine. It's certainly worth trying, but at the price I probably won't be drinking it again for a while. (5.0)

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Photo of GBalbin
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer unlike anything I've ever drank. I knew that this beer was aged in barrels used for maturation of Single Malt 40 years Whisky, however, I could not imagine that the notes of whiskey would be so present and very well placed, giving a complexity to this different and sensational beer! Color: black that seems black oil. Viscous texture, almost like a liqueur. Aroma of vanilla, oak, whiskey, something smoked, roasted malts, bitter chocolate and coffee, all that just in aroma! Flavor of roasted malt, sweet, sour, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, wine (Madeira and Porto) and especially whiskey and oak wood. Low carbonation and long aftertaste of whiskey, alcohol and coffee. I recommend to everyone!

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Photo of JamesS
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a great pitch black in color with a great tan head and nice bit of lacing. It has a wonderful scent, part coffee, part whisky, part malt, part hop, with just a bit too much of the scent tending towards the Scotch side. Wonderful taste, the whiskey flavor is very much there, and unfortunately dominates, even more so than the other aged versions; still has some nice dark roasted malt attributes, though, and it shouldn't be a surprise that it's so whisky flavored. It goes down fairly smooth -- exceptionally for an aged beer.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.33/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz expensive ass bottle into a snifter with oglmcdgl, bottle number 56028.

A- Ola Dubh 40 is black, it's not jet black, but it's pretty dark. Just a small whispy small tannish cap on top with some very light lacing. The liquid does not look as thick as other versions.

S- Whiskey, and alot of it. All I can smell is the Kentucky elixer for a while before some warming brings out some smoke/peat with minimal chocolate. A good amount of roasted malt. A whiskey bomb in it's own right.

T- Yep, pretty much a whiskey bomb. It takes up about 80% of the taste while the remaining 20% is made up of all the other smells that I mentioned above. Tastes like it smells.

M- The 40 year old version seems to have a thinner body than other versions, or maybe it's just the 40 year whiskey barrel that just comes out with vigor. Either way this feels a few steps above medium bodied with a light and almost non existant carbonation. It's a bit hot on the mouth and not all to coating.

D- Im glad I split this bottle because I did not dig the huge whiskey tastes. No way I could enjoy a whole bottle of this to the head. I really enjoyed the lighter versions of this (12, 16) but this is a bit too much for me. Perhaps a few years of aging will tone down the whisk, but that's what this beer is all about, so I'll just pass this one on the shelves forever now, no need for a redo.

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Photo of Long813
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #: 39132
Date: JAN 2009
Best before: April 2012
From: Liamt07

A: Pitch black body pouring the tinniest about of mocha head. Leaves good lacing also.

S: Huge front of whiskey, oak, some coffee notes, chocolate and caramel. Very pleasing.

T: Much like the aroma, loads of whiskey notes mixed in with oak and vanilla. Sweet mixture of chocolate and chewy caramel and some alcohol comes through.

M: medium bodied and medium-low carbonation. The texture is quite thin and leaves a strong whiskey finish. Alcohol comes through, but isn't displeasing.

D: Thanks again liam, this beer is fantastic. It would be interesting to compare the other years against it, but that would require a good liver.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle # 56028 split with onix1agr on the late and poured into snifters.

A- a small cap of mocha colored head from a stiff pour that settles quickly to a few gossamer wisps and a faint ring. Black in color with a mahogany glow at the edges.

S- whiskey out front with espresso and cocoa powder. Smoke and chared wood. A hint of tobacco.

T- whiskey and smokey wood with dark roasted almost burnt coffee. Dark chocolate and molasses. Earth and peat.

M- somewhere between medium and full bodied with a light carb. Dry tannic finish.

D- this is a whiskey bomb but if you like deep complex whiskey flavor this is a brew for you. I find its depth a bit of a handful and I love my spirits.

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Photo of leonardopacu
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

drink 42178, januar 2009

smell of chocolate, caramel, coffee and whiskey.
thing very black, brown foam, and fleeting
body heavy, sticky and gummy.
and intense flavor of whiskey, oak,
sweet and bitter and the alcohol very well placed.
very balanced, great.

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Photo of darklordlager
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had at Happy Gnome's Firkin Fest 2010

A: Pours a dark brown/black with no head. Looks to be clear if it weren't so dark.

S: Molasses, vanilla/oak, dark fruit, chocolate, whisky, caramel, with some booziness.

T: Peat, dark fruit, molasses, vanilla/oak. Definitely a sipper, but something to behold.

M: Very spirit-esque. Starts off medium-thin bodied and moves into a dry spirity finish.

D: A sipper for sure--something to sit back with for a couple hours (much more like a Scotch).

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 92% out of 100 with 176 ratings
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